Slight Increase in African Students at U.S. Colleges and Universities

After the 2001 terrorist attacks, it became more difficult for foreign students to obtain visas to study in the United States. From 2002 to 2008 there was a decline of about 10 percent in the number of African students at U.S. colleges and universities. But now there are some signs of an upturn. According to the Institute of International Education, in 2009 there was a 4 percent increase in African students in the U.S. compared to the previous year. In 2009 there were 36,937 Africans studying in the United States. They made up 5.5 percent of all foreign students in the U.S.

Among black African nations, Nigeria in 2008-09 sent the most students to American colleges and universities. There were 6,256 Nigerians studying here. Nigerian enrollments have tripled since 1995. However, the number of Nigerian students in the U.S. today is only one third the number that studied here in the mid-1980s.

In 2008-09 Kenya ranked second, sending 5,877 students to the United States. Ghana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania, Cameroon, and Ethiopia each had more than 1,000 students studying in this nation.

All told, 49 black African nations had college students studying in the U.S. during the 2008-09 academic year.